Wolfredo Senior Member Joined: 27 Dec 2007 Posts: 4 Location: Germany Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Mon Aug 16, 2010, 9:27am Subject: Re: State of Espresso 2010 by Mark Prince
one thing stands out in anything you say. You are confirming "that we don't know enough about certain aspects". I agree but why should I doom something then just because I didn't figure out how it works properly?
Accoding to pressure profiling I would like to do the following comparison: You are a ralley driver and want to get through your track fast. What do you do? You turn of ESP and all the fancy gimmicks the car has since YOU KNOW IT BETTER. If you are a noob, turning things off might result in a cool entry on the Darwin Awards page.
I really have to conquer myself very often if it comes to believes like "I don't think this is good...". Do I know it for sure? No? Damn try it out and get experienced, judge it after playing around with it for some time. All inventions failed more than once until someone found a way to use it right. Without some insitent nerds we wouldn't have electricity at all.
>>> "This is a former world champion barista, and someone who is constantly pushing the envelope on espresso brewing techniques... if he's finding it difficult... how do you think the average barista in the average cafe will do with this technology?"
Agree, pro tools for pros. But: did you ever do anything in life that was easy from the beginning? Even for Tim this is new. Ask him about his roaster as it was new to him. Did he roast like he does today? Probably not, experience is the key.
Controlling the temperature is a good thing and I like what you can achieve with it. But be true: we don't know anything about how it would work in real world. You would be disappointed by it as you are with pressure profiling if you don't understand it fully. You can't just change temperature on the fly and assume that the result is similar to mixing parts of your 5 seconds experiment togehter.
As of Single Origin Espresso: it is not about the buzz and having a Kung-Fu legend like story to tell. Just showcase the coffee for what it is. Again, good single origin coffees deserve to be showcased like this: pure, naked, vulnerable.
>>> "So why did I write disconnect? Because there's also another thing happening in espresso that I cannot call a trend - it's been going on far too long - that I wish would stop: Professionals (esp. baristas, but also roasters) who are woefully ignorant of how their coffees are brewed in a consumer's home."
Again, don't agree with that. Just because my customers only have micro waves doesn't mean I have to sell plastic cups filled with noodles. Have a look at how many coffee shops are out there and how many of these produce superior quality. Only a small fraction of these shops delivers good quality and the majority sells crap. So if the consumer is not able to reproduce a certain quality at home means I have to sell crap, too?
coffeestork Senior Member Joined: 19 Nov 2004 Posts: 140 Location: Toronto Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Rocket Giotto Premium Plus Grinder: Rocky
Posted Mon Aug 16, 2010, 1:31pm Subject: Re: State of Espresso 2010 by Mark Prince
Thoroughly enjoyed both articles as they provided some very interesting perspectives. So thank you.
Your discussion on the rising bar and evolution seems reminiscient of when I got a Pentium with 256 RAM, and that was absolutely amazing.
Also had a good chuckle that home baristas can pull shots better than 90% of cafe visits. I have found this too. Only a few places here in Toronto that I would consistently count on producing better espresso than at home.
Finally, I have to agree that there is value in the fact that a blend is more forgiving and easier to pull by larger group of baristas, cafe and home. Not knowledgable enough to say if there always has to be a trade-off to obtain this. There is something to be said to opening up things to many people, rather than creating exclusivity all the time. One of my pet peeves lately is when I really like a coffee, and then I find out that there is a really small quantity available that I won't be able to get again.
Looking forward to see how pressure profiling turns out. Experimentation and evolution are always a good thing.
Posted Tue Aug 17, 2010, 6:30pm Subject: Re: State of Espresso 2010 by Mark Prince
Nice couple of articles. People may or may not agree, but you clearly staked out your beliefs and stimulated some good responses.
In your discussion about dividing an espresso extraction into five sequential segments, you place great emphasis on the gradually rising extraction temperature as the cause for the "sour, to balanced, to bitter" progression of flavors. This may be an oversimplification, however. In general, sour flavors extract fastest, bitter flavors extract slowest, even when the extraction temperature is constant. For example, say you brew three identical french presses, but one you plunge immediately, one you plunge after 3 minutes, and one you plunge after 6 minutes. Although they all extracted at close to the same temperature, the first one will generally taste sourish, the second more balanced, and the third one bitter.
Point is, the relative solubility of flavor compounds over time is a crucial factor in determining what flavors end up in your espresso.
Oh, and one little nitpick in your article: the pressure profiling demonstration you mention was in Charlotte in 2006, not Long Beach in 2007.
Posted Sun Aug 22, 2010, 8:12pm Subject: Re: State of Espresso 2010 by Mark Prince
Mark, interesting that while Dal in his article "What is Single Origin?" click here points out your "limited definition" (meaning too confining), truly his differs from yours by only ONE WORD...Microlot. The word YOU specify.
Only there, where you believe a true SO must come from a specific area of a single farm, he's relaxed it by just specifying the farm in it's entirety. Seems to me, a farm has several areas/sections where altitude, soil, water runoff, etc might significantly affect the quality/taste of a bean. My brother, while visiting Costa Rican coffee farms saw, and tasted this.
Thus, I tend to believe that, while I can live with his definition of a SO coffee...single farm, single processing method, single roast style/profile (his espresso definition adds "roasted for espresso) I think by closely defining the exact area brings even more meaning to the term, SO.
Either way, it's clear you both have eliminated the "melange" roasting style from the SO definition. Actually, I really find certain coffees such as Yemen to just be even more interesting when roasted to slightly different roast degrees and blended. OT, sorry!
rohancooke Senior Member Joined: 23 Aug 2010 Posts: 6 Location: melbourne Expertise: Pro Barista
Posted Fri Jan 28, 2011, 5:57pm Subject: Re: State of Espresso 2010 by Mark Prince
It seems like a lot of barista's (inc myself) have read this article... i say this because i have noticed a small trend where people now don't put the cup under the porta filter for the first few seconds of extraction which seems to be inspired by your 5 seconds-5 shots experiment. i guess it may get rid of some of the gas's and to much acidity but generally i don't mind having my espresso with those first few seconds!
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